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Outback FAQ’s





Q: “Do I need a 4WD to travel to Outback Queensland?” A: The majority of the roads in Outback Queensland, when travelling between the main towns, are sealed and in good condition. They can be easily travelled in a regular car without the need for a 4WD vehicle. If you are looking to go off the beaten track, into National Parks or across the Simpson Desert you may need a 4WD. It is always good to contact the local Visitor Information Centre for details.
Q: Are the roads sealed throughout the region? A: When travelling on the main tourist routes, the majority of the roads are sealed and in good condition and can be travelled by any regular vehicle. Even unsealed roads can generally be used by a regular vehicle, though ones with higher clearance are preferred by locals. If you are concerned we suggest you call or visit one of our Visitor Information Centres.
Q: What kind of animals may we encounter while driving? A: It is important that you remain alert at all times when driving through the outback. Along with the kangaroos, you may also encounter emus, echidnas, lizards, wedge-tailed eagles and other birdlife.
Q: How far apart are the towns? A: On the main tourist routes, is rare to drive more than 2-3 hours without passing through a town. The services available will vary in each town so it is important to check in with the Visitor Centre before you begin a drive to ensure you have everything you need and find out where the next petrol station or general store will be.
Q: What supplies do I need to carry in our vehicle? A: Always take snacks and extra water for the journey, as well as a spare tyre and map. Good to have (but not necessary): • A satelite-phone or Telstra mobile • Jerry can of spare fuel • Road trip music
Q: Is there enough water? A: While Outback Queensland is experiencing drought, there is plenty of water to cater for the needs of visitors, so nobody will be short of a drink or shower. Many towns are located on the Great Artesian Basin, which provides water for the day-to-day needs of residents and visitors. Read more on The Great Artesian Basin page
Q: Do all towns have a caravan park with powered sites? A: About 95% of towns do, yes. Double-check with the Visitor Information Centre if you’re in doubt.
Q: Is there work available for backpackers? A: They say there’s always work if you’re willing, most backpackers find work at pubs in town, or as station hands or au pairs on properties.
Q: What types of accommodation are available? A: Outback Queensland offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from free camping, powered camping grounds with amenities, cabins, backpacker accommodation and quality bed and breakfasts and motels. Farm stays are also available to get an authentic outback cattle station experience. Find out more on our accommodation page
Q: Do we need to pre-book accommodation? A: As accommodation options can be limited in some towns, it is always advisable to pre-book accommodation at least one week prior to arrival to ensure availability. During major events or Festivals, accommodation can book out months in advance. Find out more on our accommodation page
Q: Is roadside assistance available? A: RACQ services outback Queensland and can be contacted on 13 19 05.
Q: What is the mobile/internet coverage like? A: Telstra network is the only network that provides good coverage in Outback Queensland, usually within a 20km radius of towns. There is limited mobile phone coverage in the far South West corner of the region, west of Quilpie to Bedourie. Public phones are available in all towns, and satellite phones are recommended for extended travel in this area. Read more on our Outback Communication page
Q: Are we likely to be the only cars on the road? A: The roads may be long, but they’re not often lonely. You certainly won’t be caught in traffic, but other travellers, locals and road trains are frequent. Be sure to give everyone the friendly Outback Wave from the steering wheel.
Q: What is the ideal length of stay to explore the Outback? A: A week is a good amount of time to explore the North-, Central- or South-West regions, though you are very welcome to linger longer! Whether you’re driving yourself, catching the bus/train, flying or on a tour, a week is a nice bite-sized chunk so take a couple to tackle the whole Queensland Outback. Find out more on our itineraries page
Q: Can you do short breaks in the Outback? A: Yes, and it’s easier than you might think.If you’re driving yourself it generally adds extra travel time, but the flexibility of your own vehicle is generally worth it. Weekend trips into Outback are easiest driving from Brisbane, Rockhampton or Townsville.Fly/hire is a popular choice for those who like the flexibility of a vehicle but want to cut out the extra travel time.Tours are also a good way to see the region but reduce the potential stress of driving your own car, and there are plenty of options from the coast, or once you arrive in-region via plane or train. Read more on our Road Safety page
Q: Can you fly in and hire a rental car? A: Yes, you certainly can.QANTAS operates flights into Queensland’s outback from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Townsville.Rex has flights into the region from Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, as well as flights within the region.Large towns generally have hire car options, but check with the town or company in question. One way car hire is at the discretion of the car hire company. QANTAS

Brisbane to:

• Barcaldine, Blackall, Charleville, Longreach, Mount Isa, Roma

Sydney to:

• Charleville, Mount Isa, Roma

Melbourne to:

• Charleville, Mount Isa, Roma

Townsville to:

• Cloncurry, Mount Isa


Towns include Bedourie, Boulia, Birdsville, Cunnamulla, Charleville, Mount Isa, Quilpie, Windorah, Thargomindah, Hughenden, Julia Creek, Karumba, Longreach, Normanton, Mornington Island, Richmond and Winton.

Q: How hot does it get? A: The peak travel season is during the cooler months, because in summer the temperature is usually 35-40°C.  Find out more on our Weather page
Q: When is the wet season? A: Summer rains herald the wet season, so December to February is the general frame.
Q: When is the ideal time to travel? A: March to November
Q: Are there medical facilities? A: Almost all towns have a health centre, and the Royal Flying Doctor takes emergency patients from remote locations to necessary hospitals – either in region or to larger ones on the coast.Businesses and locals generally have comprehensive First Aid Kits, but it’s a good idea to carry a small one of your own in the car. All stations have RFDS kits to treat most mishaps, including anti-venoms in the unlikely event of a snake-bite. Locate hospitals and health centres by region here
Q: Can we travel through the outback with pets? A: Yes the outback is very pet-friendly, and some towns even have Doggy Day Care to look after your pooch while you see the sights.It’s often best to call ahead at accommodation to check their pet policy, or to request a pet-friendly room.Be respectful of other traveller’s journeys, and always keep a lead handy in case you need to tie your pet up.
Q: Where are the best spots for birdwatching, and what species can we expect to see? A: A dream location for bird enthusiasts, the Cunnamulla region is home to 57 varieties and over 201 species of Australian native birds, including one of the rarest birds in Australia, the Grey Falcon, which breeds in the area. Other rare species you can expect to see include Halls Babbler, Bourke’s Parrott, Chestnut-Breasted Quail-Thrush, Black-Breasted Buzzard, Square-Tall Kite, Painted Snipe, Crested Bellbird, Redthroat and the Spotted Night-Jar.Sunrise and sunset provide fantastic viewing times, with the Allan Tannock Weir and the sandhills behind the caravan park providing good vantage points. Bowra, around 16km from Cunnamulla, is another hotspot for Australian birdlife, as is Aldville Station and Charlotte Plains. Visit Birdlife Australia for more information, or contact the local visitor centre.
Q: What are the main waterholes? A: Warrego River, CunnamullaPart of the Darling catchment in the Murray-Darling basin, the Warrego, meaning ‘River of Sand’, is a great spot to stop for a swim or fish. There are a number of permitted camping spots along the river as well as the caravan park. Take a stroll around the river and watch the sunset from the viewing deck.Longreach WaterholeKnown as the Longreach Waterhole, this section of the Thomson River is a great place to cool off after seeing all the sites of the town. Part of the Lake Eyre Basin, the town of Longreach is named after the long reach of the waterhole! There are a number of boat cruises that operate on the river where you can sit back, relax and take in the scenery and the Apex Park camp ground is located on its banks – a great place to set up camp for a few nights. Fish for some Yellowbelly, Bream, Catfish and Barcoo Grunter or enjoy a swim in one of Outback Queensland’s largest waterholes.Combo Waterhole, KynunaEvery Aussie knows this waterhole, even if they don’t realise it! It is said to be the billabong that the ‘jolly swagman’ in Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda jumped into, and where his ghost may still be heard! There is a self-guided walking track around the waterhole where visitors can discover the story of Waltzing Matilda. You will see some amazing bird species at Combo and make sure you have a rest and enjoy a picnic under the shade of a Coolibah tree after your swim.

Birdsville Billabong

The Birdsville Billabong is a beautiful place to view the Outback sunset and is located on the edge of the town. Enjoy walking, kayaking, swimming or fishing from the newly-erected pontoon, only a short walk from the caravan park. Enjoy the birdlife and try your luck at catching some yabbies.

Duwadarri Waterhole, Lawn Hill National Park

There are steps and ladders at various spots along the Duwadarri Waterhole where you can have a refreshing swim. The highlight is swimming under the Indarri Falls! Bring your canoe or hire one on site. Watch out for one of the 140 bird species in the area. Fishing is not permitted.

Lake Moondarra, Mt Isa

Renowned for its Barra fishing, Lake Moondarra, Lake Moondarra is an artificial lake on the Leichardt River, 16km from Mount Isa. There are plenty of picnic areas to enjoy, pontoons, boat ramps and a ski jump. You are bound to see some amazing birdlife and as well as the Barra, you can fish for Sooty Grunter, Saratoga, Alligator Gar, Fork-tailed Catfish, Jew, Archerfish, Spangled Perch and Sleepy Cod.

Lake Freddy Tritton, Richmond

Lake Freddy Tritton boasts sandy beaches, shaded playground facilities, a water park, paved walking track, BBQ facilities and clean amenities. It is the perfect spot to take a dip, ski, canoe or have a fish. The lake is stocked with over 18 species of fish including red claw yabbies and barramundi.

Q: Where can we fish and what types of fish can we expect to catch? A: Currawinya, Lochern and Welford National Parks have great fishing, as well as rivers and creeks that you encounter on your journey.The waterways of the Outback provide habitat for a variety of fish. Yellowbelly is the most likely catch in our many Outback waterways, but there are also sooty grunter, welch grunter, sleepy cod, Murray cod, barramundi (in the north), catfish, redclaw and black bream. Enjoy the social atmosphere of one of the many community-run fishing competitions. Longreach, the Southern Cross Isisford Fishing Competition and the Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic immediately spring to mind.
Q: Where can we find out about events in the region? You can find out about upcoming and annual events right here on the Outback Queensland website, where we collect the information from across the region. After more info? Contact the local Visitor Information Centre to see what’s happening in town during your stay.
Q: Do you have maps and touring routes available online? A: There are plenty of planning tools available online, check out the itineraries section for road trip and holiday ideas, and check out the Queensland Drive map here. A Google map of Outback towns can be explored here. Click here for our itineraries pageClick here for our maps pageClick here for our outback towns map page
Q: Can we drive into the National Parks? A: Yes, though most require a 4WD and a permit. For facilities and activities permitted in each park, visit the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing website here.  Link to NP site: http://nationalparks.queensland.com/outback-queensland/
Q: Can we have campfires? A: If camping outside a town, be aware that most roads run through private property or national parks and open fires should never be lit. Use only designated fireplaces at campgrounds.
Q: Where can we experience a cattle station stay? A: There are a few station stays and station experiences across the region, including Charlotte Plains, Aldville Station, Kilcowera Station, Epsilon Station and Bonus Downs in the south; West Leichardt Station and Bluff Downs in the north; and Carisbrooke, Camden Park and NoGo near Longreach. Visit the Farm Stay Camping Australia website to help compare experiences.
Q: Night driving? A: Possible, but not recommended for travellers who are new to the region. Road hazards are more difficult to see and kangaroos are more active at dawn, dusk, and throughout the night. Also driving at night time increases the risk of fatigue, not to mention you’ll miss the beautiful countryside going by! If you must drive at night ensure your headlights are working properly, and extra spotlights to light up the road are always handy. Don’t forget to turn off high beam when you see oncoming motorists.Hot Tip: If your vehicle doesn’t have a bullbar drive behind someone who does, like a mate or a road train, so any surprise roo damage is minimised.